After finishing my last book (the great read which was The Outsider), I was searching for other Stephen King books which I had not read and I came across this little novella which was no longer available (Stephen himself asked for this book to go out of print in the early 90’s following a string of high school shootings), so I decided to track down a copy and get it read.
It is written by Richard’s pseudonym Richard Bachman and as a result is quite different to his standard work as it focus more on a ‘real life’ situation (remember, this book was written back before high school shootings became common place), rather than his more familiar horror related tomes.
A summary of the story is as follows:-
A disturbed high-school student with authority problems kills one of his teachers and takes the rest of his class hostage. Over the course of one long, tense and unbearable hot afternoon, Charlie Decker explains what led him to this drastic sequence of events, while at the same time deconstructing the personalities of his classmates, forcing each one to justify his or her existence.
For anyone looking for a book full of gruesome killings and long descriptions of violence would be looking in the wrong place here as this book is very different to that.
The total death count in the book is only two people, so very different to the high school shootings you hear about more often than you would like in the news, instead the book focuses on the minds of Charlie and his hostages and examines the thoughts and feelings of those involved.
All is not as it seems, there are very interesting reasons why Charlie chose to do what he did, none of which I will go into as they form a very important element of this book.
I found it interesting how my thoughts and feelings about each of the characters featured in the book changed as more and more were revealed and in the end, I really did understand where Charlie was coming from and can understand (somewhat) the reasons for his actions.
I would have liked to get through this book quicker than i did, but it’s World Cup season and football match watching has been taking up quite a lot of my time.
I got there in the end though and thoroughly enjoyed a different style of writing from a very familiar author.
My rating is a 4 out of 5.